Ok, as I write this I'm only using one eye, because my other one has shut down and become blurry, something that happens when I am very very tired. This was my first ACL Fest, and actually, my first major outdoor festival since some of the monster shows up in Dallas in the late 70s.
I really really do better inside where there is air conditioning. But ACL Fest isn't likely to be held inside any time soon, so I, like the masses, will have to gut through this thing, bite the bullet, and go forward.
And when I say masses I mean MASSES. I have no idea how many actual people were there today, but I don't think I have ever seen so many people before in one place in my life, certainly not in Austin.
ACL Fest does things pretty well considering how many people they have attending, though certainly some things could have been thought out better. No major waits at any of the restrooms or food or beverage lines, the misting stations were well used, however, planning a single shuttle point dead center in the downtown area, already heavily congested, probably could have been done better. I would have thought that working with CAP Metro more closely to utilize all those "Park and Ride" lots all over town could have provided at least one or two more options. Also by late in the day last year's nemesis, a cloud of dust, could be seen hovering above the crowd, despite all the extra watering. This drought has just been devastating.
I got downtown by 1 pm but it was 1:30 pm before I finally located a parking space 10 blocks away from the shuttle location. Packing up all the "essentials" reccommended by others who had attended, I lugged a cooler, a folding chair, and a blanket along with a camera, an umbrella, a cell phone, 2 liters of water, and other gear. All told I must have been weighed down with 50 pounds of crap. The whole time I huffed and puffed and sweated all the way to the shuttle, Tom Hanks' character in Saving Private Ryan came to mind, stripping his hapless translator of all the un-needed equipment for combat. Most definitely, almost none of this gear is going tomorrow.
I get to the park and am run through a wierd chain link rat's maze that deposits us all into long lines for the buses. There must be hundreds of us stacked up here. I look down the street, and I can see that they have lots of busses in queue, more than enough to take us all. The wait for the bus was fairly short, 20 minutes or so, and that was simply the time it took to load the buses. The bus trip seemed to take forever, though, and to take a "scenic" route over to the park, although I am sure that was the best for traffic flow control. It sure felt like 40 minutes.
After locating the front gate, and having to explain to the security guy checking me that four half-liter bottles are the same as two one-liter bottles, and him having to check with someone else, I finally made it into ACL Fest. It s now 3 pm. I set all my stuff down and instantly realize that yes, I do have way too much crap. I get myself oriented with the map, and head off to check out what remains of the Guster show.